__Skeet Basics__

__Leading the target__

**MWhat you're seeing isn't always what you're getting**Knowing how much lead to put on a moving target not only is often a mystery to the beginning shooter but often misunderstood even when known.

We can calculate exactly how much lead is required so that shot traveling at a given speed

*a target traveling at a given speed at a given distance.*

**will meet**

Lead = (Target Speed / Shot Speed) x Target Distance

*The math formula:*Lead = (Target Speed / Shot Speed) x Target Distance

All values must be in feet and feet-per-second (fps). Results are rounded to the nearest tenth.

**Example, using typical Skeet range values:****Target Speed = 45 mph = 66 fps (1 mph = 1.466667 fps)**

Shot Speed = 1200 fps

Distance at which target will be hit (Target Distance): 21 yards = 63 ft.

66 / 1200 = .055

.055 x 63 = 3.46 feet of lead (3 feet, 5-1/2 inches)

Shot Speed = 1200 fps

Distance at which target will be hit (Target Distance): 21 yards = 63 ft.

66 / 1200 = .055

.055 x 63 = 3.46 feet of lead (3 feet, 5-1/2 inches)

And that's where confusion often enters the picture. The confusion exists because of the difference between

*and*

__perceived__lead*.*

__actual__lead**FACT (possibly startling):**No matter which Skeet station you're on, if there's an angle involved and you wanted to break the target exactly over the center stake,

**you'd still need 3 feet, 5-1/2 inches of lead**.

But from

*point of view it won't be perceived to be that much and will vary according to the station from which you're shooting.*

**your**The example illustrated in this drawing shows why:

Of course, if you wanted to calculate the lead for breaking a target somewhere on its flight path other than over the center stake, you'd need to find the Target Distance from you to that break point.

*But lead alone won't get it*Simply shooting ahead of the target the required distance is only the first half of the lead equation: The second half -- and equally if not

**more**important -- is a good

**.**

*follow-through*After the lead is established and the shot is made,

*will guarantee a miss just as surely as not leading the target enough. Conceivably, you could extend the lead far beyond what's necessary, stop the gun and still break the target. But that's just not the way to do it.*

**stopping the gun**Follow-through is just a smooth continuation of the swing you've already established as you tracked the target. Keep your head on the gun and keep swinging until you're sure the shot's completed -- whether you hit or missed the target.

The importance of follow-through simply cannot be overemphasized.

*Velocity: More isn't always better*As a general rule, 1200 fps is pretty much accepted as the standard velocity of shotshells used for Skeet.

But let's say your shotshell load delivers only 1100 fps. The lead required in the above examples would be 3.78 feet -- a mere 3-7/8 inches more than 1200 fps! And therein lies the fallacy in any thoughts that you need super hot loads for Skeet.

It's simply impractical, if not impossible, for a shooter to make such fine adjustments as he swings the gun on the moving target, and higher velocities may actually produce worse shot patterns than lower ones.

For solid target breaks, a good shot pattern at whatever velocity it occurs is much more desirable than higher velocity.